Oeschinensee, Switzerland

13 Best Places to Visit in Switzerland in Summer 2024

March 2, 2024

Switzerland is a popular destination in Western Europe, visited by millions of tourists every year. Many people dream of seeing the gems of the Swiss Alps, such as the Matterhorn or Jungfraujoch, walking through Swiss landscapes, and enjoying the benefits of a clean and well-organized country.

We believe that Switzerland is a must-visit for global travelers. Few places offer as much peace, order, and cleanliness as Switzerland. For those who love hiking in nature, Switzerland is a dream destination, especially in the summer.

Switzerland’s most popular tourist destinations are mostly in the mountains. The Swiss Alps attract attention and captivate both the eyes and the soul. The charming small mountain villages, beautiful light blue and green lakes, breathtaking waterfalls, large lakes surrounded by picturesque towns, and rocky peaks all offer stunning scenery.

All these places are undoubtedly the most beautiful and easiest to visit in summer, so this article focuses specifically on summer destinations.

So, in this article, we present the most beautiful places in Switzerland that are a must-visit during your travels in the country in summer 2024. We list the best summer destinations in Switzerland that are favorites among tourists, for good reasons.

Before the list, let’s go over some general information if you plan to travel to Switzerland’s best places.

General questions for a summer trip to Switzerland

How to get around the top Swiss destinations

As in most places, it is recommended to travel by car in Switzerland. Parking is available almost everywhere.

In some places, car usage is prohibited, especially in mountain villages, but alternative transportation options are available. In these cases, you can take a train or a cable car to get there.

Another highly developed transportation sector in Switzerland is the train network. Therefore, considering train travel might be worthwhile.

Best time to visit Switzerland

Although winter in Switzerland attracts visitors for the ski season, the summer months are also particularly interesting from a tourist point of view.

We therefore recommend summer as a great time to visit the top attractions – unless you want to go skiing.

In summer everything is open, all the hiking trails are accessible, and the weather is perfect for hiking.

So, if you’re looking for the best time to visit Switzerland, we recommend the period between June and September.

Summer weather in Switzerland

During summer in Switzerland, the weather is generally pleasant, providing ideal conditions for tourists. Temperatures typically range between 20°C and 25°C, though higher elevations may be cooler.

The only drawback regarding the weather during a summer trip to Switzerland is the rain. Rainfall is frequent, and it’s important to be prepared for it in advance.

Layered clothing is advisable, especially in cooler mountain areas. There are ample hours of sunshine, allowing for outdoor activities and excursions.

The best things to do in Switzerland in summer

In the summer months, Switzerland offers plenty of exciting activities and sights for travelers.

  • Hiking in the Swiss Alps: One of the most popular activities is exploring the breathtaking Swiss Alps. Visitors can embark on picturesque hikes through stunning valleys, verdant meadows, and scenic alpine landscapes. Iconic destinations like the Matterhorn and Jungfraujoch attract adventurers seeking unforgettable experiences.
  • Cycling through the countryside: Discover beautiful Swiss landscapes by bike, enjoying the fresh air and panoramic views.
  • Visit Switzerland’s most beautiful waterfalls: Explore Switzerland’s stunning waterfalls, such as Staubbach or Rhine Falls.
  • Adventure sports: Switzerland is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. From adrenaline-pumping activities like paragliding and mountain biking to leisurely pursuits like swimming in crystal-clear lakes or picnicking in serene alpine surroundings, there’s something for everyone. Thrill-seekers can also try canyoning, rock climbing, or even summer skiing on certain glaciers.
  • Boating on Switzerland’s most beautiful lakes: Enjoy peace and beauty with a boat trip on crystal-clear lakes like Lake Geneva or Lake Lucerne.
  • Cultural programs: Culture lovers will find plenty to indulge in. Switzerland boasts charming villages, historic towns, and vibrant cities rich in cultural heritage. Explore medieval castles, visit world-class museums, or stroll through picturesque old towns to immerse yourself in the rich history and architecture.
  • Enjoy Swiss cuisine, cheeses, and chocolate: Don’t miss out on Swiss culinary delights. Taste delicious Swiss chocolates, sample gourmet cheeses, and enjoy traditional Swiss dishes like fondue and raclette at cozy mountain restaurants.
  • Train rides for the best views: For a more relaxing experience, take a scenic train journey on the famous Brienz Rothorn Railway or Gornergrat Railway, offering panoramic views of Switzerland’s stunning landscapes.
  • Try Swiss thermal baths: Relax and unwind in the warm waters of thermal baths, such as Lavey-les-Bains or Leukerbad.

These activities are sure to make your trip to Switzerland unforgettable!

After addressing general questions, let’s explore the list of Switzerland’s most beautiful places.

List of the best places to visit in Switzerland in summer 2024

1. Oeschinensee

At the top of the list is our absolute favorite, the Oeschinensee in Kandersteg. Oeschinensee is an alpine lake with breathtaking beauty in the middle of Switzerland, about an hour from Bern. The bright blue lake is surrounded by high, usually snow-capped mountain peaks.

The lake can be reached from the village of Kandersteg, mostly by cable car. After the cable car, there is a short hike down to the lake. If you want to take photos of the lake from above, a steep hiking trail will take you to the best photo points above on the mountainside.

The lake can also be reached on foot, but the road is very steep. Bicycles are not allowed in the area at all, and the terrain is difficult on foot, so we recommend taking the cable car and then walking.

Where to stay near the Oeschinensee

2. Lauterbrunnen

Lauterbrunnen is also not far from Bern, a small village in the Swiss Alps. It is best known for its scenic views. The village is surrounded by huge mountains with giant waterfalls, green alpine pastures and pretty Swiss wooden chalets.

In winter, the area is a famous ski paradise, but the best photos can be taken in summer, when everything is in full color.

Lauterbrunnen is a perfect destination for those who love the outdoors and for those who are looking for an adrenaline rush. Hiking, climbing and base jumping are common activities here.

Close to Lauterbrunnen is another famous village in the area, Grindelwald, which also offers many great leisure activities.

Where to stay near Lauterbrunnen

3. Zermatt and Matterhorn

The famous Matterhorn is located in the south of Switzerland, near the Italian border. The Matterhorn is the most visited mountain peak in Switzerland and also the most photographed. It is famous not only for its interesting shape, but also for the Swiss Toblerone chocolate.

The best access to the Matterhorn is from the village of Zermatt. However, it is not possible to drive into Zermatt, instead you have to leave your car in the village in front of it and you can only get to Zermatt by train or taxi. This complicates travellers’ plans a little, but it’s definitely worth it for the views.

From Zermatt, the hiking trail with the best views is the 5 Lakes Walk, which is facilitated by mountain lifts, funicular or train.

This area is also home to Switzerland’s highest mountain peak, the Dufourspitze.

Where to stay near Zermatt

In Zermatt:

  • Hotel ZERMAMA Zermatt: A four-star hotel located in the center of Zermatt, offering stunning views of the Matterhorn (some of the more expensive rooms even have a jacuzzi)
  • Resort La Ginabelle: A modern four-star hotel, offering views from the more expensive rooms
  • Zermatt Budget Rooms: A three-star hotel offering more affordable rates

In Täsch

  • Matterhorn Inn: A three-star hotel located in Täsch, near Zermatt, offering one of the most affordable options

4. Appenzell Alps

The Appenzell Alps, found in eastern Switzerland, are a popular spot for tourists. Known for their beautiful lakes and tall mountains near Appenzell, this area has lots of natural beauty.

The Appenzell Alps are great for hiking, with challenging trails and stunning views. Seealpsee and Fälensee are two notable spots, reachable mostly by foot on steep paths. Seealpsee also has a road for easier access.

Additionally, Säntis, the most famous formation, has amazing panoramic views and can be reached by cable car and a short walk.

Also, Äscher, a well-known guesthouse built into a cliff in the Appenzell Alps, offers a special dining experience with stunning views of the mountains.

For those who love fresh mountain air and beautiful landscapes, the Appenzell Alps are the perfect choice.

Where to stay in the Appenzell Alps

  • Hotel Hof Weissbad: This hotel is one of the closest to Seealpsee, offering slightly higher prices but with good amenities and excellent reviews
  • Hotel Appenzell: A traditional Swiss-style three-star hotel located in the center of Appenzell
  • Sorell Hotel City Weissenstein – Boutique Hotel: A four-star hotel in St. Gallen with outstanding reviews and affordable rates for its category
  • Hotel one66: A three-star hotel also located in St. Gallen, offering free garage parking

5. Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, close to the French border. Half of the lake belongs to Switzerland, the other half to France. Two large Swiss towns are located on its shores, Geneva and Lausanne.

Geneva, Switzerland’s third-largest city and the European headquarters of the United Nations, has iconic attractions close to the lake. Visitors can explore the picturesque Jardin Anglais, home to the famous Flower Clock, and marvel at the Geneva Water Fountain, which shoots up 140 meters high. Saint Peter’s Cathedral offers breathtaking views from its tower.

Lausanne, though smaller and less famous, has its own charm. Its compact old town features the prominent Lausanne Cathedral, providing stunning views of the surroundings. Exploring the old town on foot reveals impressive landmarks like the Palais de Rumine, and visitors can also enjoy panoramic views from the Sauvabelin Tower.

Where to stay near Lake Geneva

In Geneva:

  • Geneva Marriott Hotel: A stylish four-star hotel located in the outskirts of Geneva
  • Adina Apartment Hotel Geneva: A four-star apartment hotel located in the outskirts of Geneva, offering affordable prices compared to local rates, with its own kitchen facilities
  • Les Armures: A five-star hotel located in the heart of Geneva, in a traditional 17th-century building. Recommended for those seeking a unique experience

In Lausanne:

  • Royal Savoy Hotel & Spa: A five-star hotel in the city center of Lausanne, close to the shores of Lake Geneva. Featuring stylish interiors and plenty of amenities
  • Hôtel des Patients: A modern three-star hotel in Lausanne, not far from the old town.

6. Lucerne

Lucerne is a city of around 80,000 people located on Lake Lucerne’s shores. It’s easily accessible from Zurich and offers a few notable attractions.

Key sites include the Kapellbrücke and Spreuerbrücke bridges, both spanning the Reuss River and dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries. Nearby, you’ll find the Jesuit Church, constructed in the 17th century.

If time allows, you might visit the Lion Monument, a sculpture commemorating Swiss Guards slain during the French Revolution, or explore the well-preserved Musegg Wall, a medieval city wall offering panoramic views.

For outdoor enthusiasts, consider a trip to Mount Pilatus or Fronalpstock for breathtaking mountain vistas. Mount Pilatus, accessible by the Pilatus Bahn cogwheel railway, offers stunning views of the city and surrounding landscapes.

Where to stay in Lucerne

  • Hotel Central Luzern: A three-star hotel located in the heart of Lucerne, close to the main attractions

7. Zurich

Zurich is the biggest city in Switzerland, located on the shores of Lake Zurich. It has a mix of modern and rich cultural heritage. In the Old Town, you can explore cobblestone streets and historical sites. Walking along the Limmat River and Bahnhofstrasse with luxury shops is a great experience.

Lake Zurich is perfect for peaceful walks and boat rides. There are parks like Arboretum Zurich along the lake. Zurich offers a variety of museums for those interested in culture and history, such as Kunsthaus Zurich and the Swiss National Museum.

In the evening, Zurich comes alive with vibrant restaurants and bars. You can relax, try local or international cuisine, and enjoy the city’s atmosphere.

Where to stay in Zurich

There are plenty of accommodation options in Zurich. However, it’s the prices rather than the selection that is the problem, as hotel prices are quite high.

We offer accommodation in different categories, choose according to your needs and budget:

8. Jungfrau region

The Jungfrau region is a breathtaking area in Switzerland known for its towering mountains, including the Jungfrau, Eiger, and Mönch peaks.

It’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, skiing, and mountaineering.

Charming villages like Grindelwald dot the landscape, providing picturesque settings for exploration. Visitors can also experience thrilling activities such as paragliding and scenic train rides, like the Jungfraujoch Railway, which takes you to the “Top of Europe.”

Where to stay near the Jungfrau region

9. Lake Brienz

Lake Brienz, nestled in the heart of Switzerland, offers a serene escape surrounded by majestic mountains and lush forests. Located near the picturesque village of Brienz, this alpine lake boasts crystal-clear turquoise waters, creating a breathtaking natural spectacle.

Visitors can embark on leisurely boat cruises to soak in the stunning views of the surrounding landscapes, or explore the charming lakeside villages dotted along the shore. The Lake Brienz area is also a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a myriad of recreational activities such as hiking, cycling, and fishing.

One of the highlights of the area is the Brienz Rothorn Railway, a historic steam cogwheel railway that takes passengers on a scenic journey to the summit of Mount Rothorn. From the summit, travelers are treated to panoramic vistas of the lake and the snow-capped peaks of the Swiss Alps.

Also on the lake shore, you will find the famous Giessbach Waterfalls.

For those seeking a cultural experience, the open-air museum of Ballenberg provides insight into Switzerland’s rural heritage, with over 100 traditional buildings and farmhouses from different regions of the country.

Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, the Lake Brienz offers a perfect retreat amidst the stunning natural beauty of Switzerland.

Where to stay near Lake Brienz

10. Bern

Bern, the capital of Switzerland, offers a perfect mix of history and culture.

Its well-preserved medieval old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts charming cobblestone streets, Gothic architecture, and landmarks like the Zytglogge clock tower.

Visitors can explore the Bear Park, home to the city’s symbol, the Bernese bears, or stroll along the Aare River for panoramic views of the city.

The city’s museums, including the Bern Historical Museum and the Einstein House, offer insights into its rich heritage.

Where to stay in Bern

  • Hotel Savoy: A four-star hotel in the city center of Bern, with good reviews
  • Stay KooooK Bern Wankdorf: An aparthotel located in the outskirts of Bern, offering affordable prices.

11. Old villages of Ticino

Discover the Italian charm of Switzerland’s Ticino region, famous for its enchanting small Italian villages. Places like Sonogno and Foroglio are perfect for a day trip if you’re looking for Switzerland’s hidden gems.

Walk among the alpine stone houses, admire the magical waterfalls nearby, and enjoy the delicious flavors of Italian cuisine.

Ticino offers a delightful mix of Swiss and Italian cultures, providing a memorable and culturally enriching experience during your journey.

Don’t forget to explore Lugano, the main city in Ticino, which boasts Mediterranean vibes and stunning lake views.

Where to stay near Sonogno and Foroglio

Near the villages, you’ll find most accommodations around Lake Maggiore, especially in and around Locarno.

Here are some recommended options:

  • Villa Orselina – Small Luxury Hotel: A five-star hotel with breathtaking views of Lake Maggiore
  • Hotel Lago Maggiore: A four-star hotel with excellent reviews and modern interiors
  • Charme Hotel Barbatè: A three-star, affordable option in the countryside, close to the listed villages.

12. Aare Gorge

Situated near Meiringen in central Switzerland, the Aare Gorge is a natural wonder shaped by the Aare River over thousands of years.

The gorge boasts towering limestone cliffs and beautiful waters, offering a mesmerizing experience. Visitors can explore the gorge via a well-maintained walkway, encountering unique rock formations along the way.

Easily accessible by train or car, the Aare Gorge is a popular day trip destination for those seeking the tranquility and beauty of nature.

Where to stay near the Aare Gorge

13. Rhine Falls

Rhine Falls, Europe’s biggest waterfall, is located near Schaffhausen in northern Switzerland.

It’s an awe-inspiring sight, spanning 150 meters in width and dropping approximately 23 meters.

Visitors can get up close to the falls by taking boat trips or walking on panoramic viewing platforms.

During the summer months, adventurous travelers can embark on boat tours that take them into the cascading waters.

Surrounded by lush greenery, Rhine Falls provides a stunning backdrop for activities like walking, picnicking and nature photography, ensuring an unforgettable experience in Switzerland.

Where to stay near Rhine Falls

So, these were the top 13 attractions in Switzerland worth adding to your Switzerland itinerary. We hope our article provided enough inspiration for organizing your next Swiss trip.

In Switzerland, you’re almost guaranteed to have a great time amidst the stunning local landscapes, delicious local cuisine, and a wide range of outdoor activities. Switzerland is a fantastic travel destination, and it’s no wonder it’s a favorite among tourists.

No matter where you go, Switzerland promises an unforgettable experience, especially during the summer months. It’s one of the best times to visit and enjoy everything this stunning country has to offer.

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